The county was formed in 1785 as part of Ninety Six District; parts of Edgefield later went to form Aiken (1871), Saluda (1895), Greenwood (1897), and McCormick (1916) counties. The county seat is the town of Edgefield. The northern part of the Ninety Six was previously inhabited by Cherokee Indians. The southern part adjoined the Savannah River and was used as hunting grounds by the Creeks, Savannahs and other tribes. Edgefield country was trafficked by white men who created a lucrative trade with the Indians for their buffalo and beaver skins and who exported as many as two hundred and fifty thousand skins a year from the state. . It was not until 1748 that permanent settlements were made along the Savannah River. Families trickled in from England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Germany, Holland and France as well as from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina. Others, forbidden to deal in slavery, fled from Georgia to make their plantations along the Savannah River. The first Scotch families settled on the Saluda side of Edgefield south of Chappell�s Ferry. The site was located near a hill where large chestnut trees grew. Later, the Baptist Church of Chestnut Hill was later organized and built. They called the settlement Scotland. Among the first Scots was Joseph Culbreath, born near Plymouth Scotland in 1747, who was brought to Edgefield by his father, Edward Culbreath in 1756. The father died a year later, leaving his sons, Joseph, John, Daniel and Edward. The sons all lived to be over the ages of 70. The family of Harry Hazel came with the Culbreaths to the new country. In 1770 a ferry was established over the Saluda River on the land of Robert Cunningham and another one over the Savannah River, opposite to Augusta in Georgia. Edgefield was the site of several Revolutionary War skirmishes and was defended by those who�d settled from North Carolina and Virginia. One such family was that of William Abney who had settled about a mile or so from Scotland in 1772. Nathaniel Abney served as a captain of a militia company under Major Andrew Williamson at Ninety Six. Opposing the patriots was the Stewart family whose homestead was located on Tosty Creek on the Saluda.
Early settlers: Peter Finson, Francis W. Pickens, Benjamin Tilman, General Martin Witherspoon Cary, Allen Bailey, Nathan Melton, William Daniel, William Tobler, Spencer Hawes, George Miller, Jeremiah Lamar, Robert Gardner, David Pitts, Arthur Watson, Nathaniel Abney, Jesse Griffin, George Bender, Michael Burkhalter, Thomas Spraggins, Mathew Devore, Allen Burton, George Kyser, Nathaniel Bacon, Wright Nicholson, Joseph McGinnis, John Oliphant, John Blalock, Benjamin Buzbie, Robert Jennings, Jessy Rountree, Amos Richardson, Hezekiah Gentry, Benjamin Hightower, Thomas turk, Stephen Garrett and others.